music video

Ninety 90’s Songs: Canadian K.D.’s Constant Craving

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Oh, the nineties. After the fun, excessive decade of the 80’s which featured innovation stacked on top the also over the top decade of the seventies, things became more subdued. Men sang about their grungy emotions, stopped wearing make up, and women starting to take center stage as moody gravitas-bearing muses. Even some of them stopped wearing make up, too. It wasn’t all Cyndi Lauper and her party anthems anymore. No, this was the decade of serious women. And more black and white videos.

#52 “Constant Craving” by K.D. Lang. Released in 1992, and then again in 1993, this song became a major hit. Unexpectedly, K.D. won Best Female Pop Vocal and Best Female Video awards (Female Video? Videos have a gender? Don’t they mean Video by a Female?).

Whether you identify with it’s lyrics due to feelings you have towards someone you like, or perhaps a vice you can’t shake, and those may very well be the same thing, it’s not difficult to imagine why this song was so popular. We tend to crave the things that are bad for us, don’t we? Knowing we shouldn’t indulge only makes those cravings worse. And more constant.

The video features a stage production of “Waiting for Godot.” The themes (pick one, many have studied it and there are several) were meant to complement the themes of the song. Is K.D. craving the return of a currently absent yet soon to return Godot-esque figure? Maybe she is just craving a chance to play a role in a production that famously features only men. Regardless, having her sing backstage while we see the play performed mirrors how our deep longings continuously rack our minds behind the scenes, while we put on a mask to the world that we are just fine.

While I usually rag on the choice of so many 90’s videos to go black and white, the choice here provides a bleak and stark effect that magnifies the light and dark shades of emotion depicted in the song and video. The song deserved its acclaim, which makes it sad that we still don’t hear this song as often anymore, despite being featured on music-recycling powerhouse Glee.

Ninety 90’s Songs: Damn, I Wish I Was In Color

Oh wait, it was. Apparently MTV, which was in the process of scaling back its music video aspect in favor of crappy reality TV, found the original too erotic or something. Really, MTV? So this awesome song had to re-shoot, and do so in all black and white? There are already so many monochromatic videos! You’re making it worse!

#76 “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” by Sophie B. Hawkins. Damn, what a song. Seriously. Did the 90’s have brazen female artists, or what?   Passionate vocals, electric guitar, a solid back beat, and even a brass line, with all these elements it’s easy to see why this single did so well.  I’ve never heard a singer pull off the word “shucks” like Sophie did and her “damn”s are purely sexual.

The video, composed of some gorgeous dance numbers that are equally as passionate as the delivery of the lyrics, used a mix of lighting and coloring effects. Unfortunately MTV didn’t go for it. Maybe she did look like she was wearing some kind of diaper, but the mix of modern dance and burlesque was clever and engaging. Damn, I wish MTV didn’t suck.

Obviously a decent amount of money was invested in the first, because the second video is hum drum in comparison. It’s monotone and Sophie is tailored in grungy sleeveless flannel and some jeans with the 90’s-obligatory rips at the knee. They couldn’t even afford to give her shoes for most of the video and we have to see the dirty bottoms of her feet when she tries to recreate her writhing choreography.

Regardless, she still looks sexy and it’s fun to see her groove with the band and backup singers. While she hit her peak early in the decade, Sophie continues her career to this day, even appearing on NBC’s “Community” where she performed this single and another hit of hers. Here are *both* videos, so you can decide if MTV was just being provincial and prudish.